Considering Kate Page 9

"I don't agree, but I won't push it. I'd like to see you socially, if and when that suits you. Meanwhile, since we have similar views on this building, and I liked most of your ideas, I hope we'll be able to work together."

He hissed out a breath. Cool as January, he noted. While he was flustered, heated up and churning.

"You're a real piece of work, Kate."

"I am, that's true. I won't apologize for being what I am. I'll look forward to getting the brochures and information we discussed, and your bid on the job. If you need to get back in for more measurements or whatever, you know how to reach me."

"Yeah, I know how to reach you."

She stayed where she was, watched him stride down to the curb, climb into his truck. He'd have been surprised if he'd heard the long shaky breath she expelled as he drove away. Surprised as well if he'd seen her slowly lower herself to the top step. She was nowhere near as cool as January. She sat in the brisk breeze waiting to cool off. And for the frogs in her belly to settle down again.

Brody O'Connell, she thought. Wasn't it strange and fascinating that a man she'd only met twice should have such a strong effect on her? It wasn't that she was shy around men—far from it. But she was selective. The lover she'd tossed in Brody's face had been one of the three men—all of whom she'd cared for deeply—that she'd allowed into her life, and into her bed.

Yet, after two meetings—no, she thought, ordering herself to be brutally honest—afterone meeting, she'd wanted Brody in her bed. The second meeting had only sharpened that want into a keen-edged desire she wasn't prepared for.

So she would do the logical and practical thing. She'd settle herself down, clear her mind. Then she'd begin to plan the best way to get him there.

Chapter Three

Jack sat at the partner's desk in what he and his dad called their office and carefully printed out the alphabet. It was his job. Just like Dad was doing his job, on his side of the desk. The drafting paper and rulers and stuff looked like a lot more fun than the alphabet. But Dad had said, if he got it all done, he could have some paper to draw with, too.

He thought he would draw a big, giant house, just like their house, with the old barn that was Dad's workshop. And there would be lots of snow, too. Eight whole feet of snow and millions and billions of snowmen.

And a dog.

Grandpa and Grandma had a dog, and even though

Buddy was sort of old, he was fun. But he had to stay at Grandma's. One day he'd have a dog all of his own and its name would be Mike and he'd chase balls and sleep in the bed at night. He could have one as soon as he was old enough to be responsible. Which could even be tomorrow. Jack peeked up to study his father's face and see if it was maybe time to ask if he was responsible yet. But his dad had that look where he was kind of frowning but not mad. His working look. If you interrupted the working look, the answer was almost always: Not now.

But the alphabet was boring. He wanted to draw the house or play with his trucks or with the computer. Or maybe just look outside and see if it was snowing yet.

He butted his foot against the desk. Squirmed. Butted his foot.

"Jack, don't kick the desk."

"Do I have to write thewhole alphabet?"


"How come?"


"But I got all the way up to theP ."

"If you don't do the rest, you can't say any words that have the letters in them you left out."


"Can't say 'but.'B-U-T ."

Jack heaved the heavy sigh of a six-year-old. He wrote the next three letters, then peeked up again.



"Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad.D-A-D ."

Brody glanced up, saw his son grinning at him. "Smart aleck."

"I know how to spell Dad and Jack."

Brody narrowed his eyes, lifted a fist. "Do you know how to spell knuckle sandwich?"

"Nuh-uh. Does it have mustard?"

The kid, Brody thought, was sharp as a bucket of tacks. "How'd you get to be such a wise guy?"

"Grandma says I got it from you. Can I see what you're drawing? You said it's for the dancing lady. Are you drawing her, too?"

"Yes, it's for the dancing lady, and no, you can't see it until you're finished your job." However much he wanted to set his own work aside and justbe with his son, the only way to teach responsibility was to be responsible.

That was one of those sneaky circles of parenthood.

"What happens when you don't finish what you start?"

Jack rolled his eyes. "Nothing."


Jack heaved another sigh and applied his pencil. He didn't see his father's lips twitch. God, what a kid. Brody wanted to toss his own pencil down, snatch Jack up and do whatever this major miracle of his life wanted to do for the rest of the evening. The hell with work, with responsibility, with what needed to be done.

There was only one thing he wanted more than that. To finish what he started. There was no job more vital than Jack O'Connell.

Had his own father ever looked at him and wondered, and worried? Probably, Brody thought. It had never showed, but probably. Still, Bob O'Connell hadn't been one for wrestling on the rug or foolish conversations. He'd gone to work. He'd come home from work. He'd expected dinner on the table at six.

He'd expected his son to do his chores, stay out of trouble, and to—above all—do what he was told without question. One of those expectations had been to follow, precisely, in his father's footsteps. Brody figured he'd disappointed his father in every possible area. And had been disappointed by him. He wasn't going to put those same demands and expectations on his own son.

"Zee! Zee, Zee, Zee!" Jack picked up the paper, waved it madly. "I finished."

"Hold it still, hotshot, so I can see." A long way from neat, Brody noted when Jack held the paper up. But it was done. "Good job. You want some graph paper?"

"Can I come over there and help work on yours?"

"Sure." So he'd stay up an extra hour and work, Brody thought as Jack scrambled down from his stool. It would be worth it to have this time with his son. He reached down, hauled Jack up on his lap. "Okay, so what we've got here is the apartment above the school."

Source: www_Novel22_Net

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